According to Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson, the versatile Phil Jones is an injury concern ahead of Wednesday's UEFA Champions League clash at Real Madrid. The 20-year-old was superb on Sunday in his man-marking midfield role on Everton's Marouane Fellaini. However, he was substituted off early in the second-half after he was seen visibly limping. Here is what the United boss had to say about Jones after the match:
"He got a kick in the calf and we'll have to monitor it."
- Ferguson | Source: MUTV
This is a concern because there is speculation that Jones might be in the plans for the visit to the Bernabeu. As of late, in United's tougher matches, the youngster has been an important player in nullifying some of the opposition's biggest threats. Besides his limiting of Fellaini's influence at Old Trafford -- and this is a player that has had much joy against United as of late -- Jones also helped shut down Tottenham Hotspur's Gareth Bale in January. From his inside right position in midfield, the England international assisted right-back Rafael in bracketing the dangerous Welshman. This is perhaps the same role Ferguson might be envisioning for his versatile player against Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo.
Another player who might be in the plans for Wednesday night -- central-defender Jonny Evans -- also was substituted off against Everton. There was worry this might have been because of some sort of knock but after the match, the gaffer didn't appear too worried:
"Jonny Evans had a bit of cramp. I think he's just lacked a couple of games. He only had forty-five minutes for Northern Ireland in midweek. He had to travel to Malta for that. We'll see what he's like tomorrow."
Nemanja Vidic was superb against the Toffees but it seems likely that he will be rested against Madrid. The United captain, along with Ferguson, have talked about in the past month the need to be cautious due to his recent knee troubles. Vidic needs medical clearance from his doctors prior to participating in any match. In addition, it's been implied that he wouldn't feature twice a week -- more specifically, that he wouldn't feature in back-to-back matches when one occurred at the weekend followed by a midweek tie, or vice versa. Rio Ferdinand is lined up to start in Spain and if it's not Vidic as his partner, Evans is anticipated.